— The final report of the governor’s global warming task force won’t be finished until May, five months later than it was initially scheduled to be released.
But Roy Thilly, co-chair of the group, said an interim report should be issued by the end of this month. He said it will most likely emphasize relatively non-controversial conservation and increased energy efficiencies, reducing carbon emissions, cutting costs and lessening the need for more power plants.
— Wisconsin can use its Green Tier program not only to protect the environment and stimulate the economy but as a way to brand the state as ecologically progressive, panelists at a Green Tier conference at Monona Terrace said Monday.
But to do that, the program, which gives companies that meet environmental standards regulatory flexibility, must be ramped up, said John Imes, executive director of the Wisconsin Environmental Initiative.
Paul Linzmeyer, a Green Bay executive, said Bay Towel embraced Green Tier and put the program’s logo on its trucks in big letters. “By doing that we turned our customers into advocates,” he said. “It gave us a competitive advantage.” The two-day conference continues today, with Gov. Jim Doyle scheduled to speak this morning.
— Fair Price Wisconsin has two radio ads running that say Wisconsin’s “mandatory price increase” law makes the price of gas, prescription drugs and “even beer” higher here than elsewhere.
The organization – which includes the Wisconsin Merchants Federation, Wal-Mart and others – supports legislation introduced by state Reps. Leah Vukmir and Bill Kramer to repeal the state’s minimum markup law. The spots ran in Milwaukee last week, and the organization plans a statewide buy closer to lawmakers returning to session Feb. 18.
Both spots feature two women talking about rising prices and the effect on their personal finances. In one, a woman says, “This mandatory price increase law really hurts families trying to make ends meet.” Both spots refer listeners to the group’s Web site, http://www.fairpricewisconsin.com. Listen to the spots in AdWatch: http://www.wispolitics.com/index.iml?Content=24
— After more than 85 years in operation, Wauwatosa Savings Bank plans to change its name and is asking its customers to vote on the new name.
“A name change is necessary to better reflect what we are now, and what we plan to be in the future,” said Doug Gordon, president and chief executive officer of Wauwatosa Savings.
Two years ago, Wauwatosa Savings was a traditional savings and loan institution, serving primarily as a mortgage lender and CD acquirer.Within the last two years, the bank has added consumer loan products, expanded its mortgage offerings, entered the realm of business banking and expanded its deposit products with the iMoney Market and suite of checking accounts.See story: http://www.biztimes.com/daily/2008/2/4/#wauwatosa-savings-bank-to-change-name
— The UW Board of Regents is set to hike the salary ranges of the UW System president and the chancellors of the system’s comprehensive universities later this week. The Regents must hire three new chancellors in the near future, with openings at UW-Whitewater and UW-Parkside in addition to the impending exit of UW-Madison Chancellor John Wiley.
UW spokesman David Giroux characterized the salary range adjustments as “routine maintenance,” but stressed that the current hiring rush wouldn’t be the time to put off regular salary adjustments. The Regent resolution notes that Wiley’s salary, currently at $327,000 annually, is well below that of chancellors at the Madison campus’ peer institutions.
The proposed new range: $370,000 to $452,000. The new ranges wouldn’t take effect until July 1, and Giroux said no current salaries would be affected by the change. “We want to make sure that when we extend an offer … that that offer is at least within something that resembles the current market,” Giroux said. “There’s no way we’re going to make an Ohio State kind of offer.”
He added that the UW wants to send a “strong signal” to potential applicants for all three jobs. Giroux said he didn’t know how the salary range increases would be received by a state Legislature facing a budget shortfall. “I would hope people would understand the competitive situation we’re in,” Giroux said.
See the Board of Regents’ February agenda: http://www.uwsa.edu/bor/agenda/2008/february-outline.pdf
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Farmers cashing in on carbon credits: Contracts with firms aim to reduce emissions… Wisconsin farmers are used to hard work and hard times, but now some are making a little easy money off their land by cashing in on growing environmental awareness and selling carbon credits to big corporations. “It’s been about an extra dollar or two an acre for the farming operation,” said Jaran Rundahl, whose large Coon Valley family farm was among the first in Wisconsin to sell carbon credits, putting 2,739 acres under contract in 2006. “It hasn’t been real lucrative, but it’s been well worth the effort. And if it can benefit some industry to say that we’re helping them to clean up some of their carbon dioxide emissions, it’s fine with us.”
Modine to close 3 U.S. plants: Hundreds of jobs to be cut as work is moved abroad… Modine Manufacturing Co. is closing more U.S. factories while expanding in Asia and Eastern Europe. Monday, the Racine maker of heating and cooling systems for vehicles and buildings, said it would shut down three U.S. plants over the next 24 months at locations yet to be named. The company closed two U.S. plants in 2007 and has two other plants, in Tennessee and Mississippi, scheduled for closure between this spring and early 2009. Modine has about 8,500 employees at more than 30 facilities worldwide, including its headquarters and a technology center in Racine. The company has been hurt by weak sales to the automotive industry and a slower-than-expected recovery in sales to heavy-duty truck manufacturers.
Badger Meter reports profit growth: Badger Meter Inc. reported a 79 percent increase in profits from its continuing operations in the fourth quarter because of growing sales of automated meter-reading products. The Brown Deer-based manufacturer of flow measurement equipment posted net income from continuing operations of $4.2 million, or 28 cents per share, compared with $2.3 million, or 16 cents per share, for the same period a year ago. Net sales for the quarter ended Dec. 31 increased nearly 9 percent to $57.2 million from $52.7 million. Continuing operations excludes results from its French subsidiary, which the firm shut down at the end of 2006 because of unprofitability. Badger Meter chairman, president and CEO Terry Meeusen said the increase in profits was due to higher prices and increased sales of high-margin, automated meter-reading systems.
Kagen urges passage of stimulus bill: Congressional passage of an economic stimulus bill — either the House or Senate version — would benefit those who need it most, said Rep. Steve Kagen, D-Appleton. “There are good components in each of the bills,” Kagen said Monday during a visit to the Brown County Job Center. “The rebates would be for those who need them the most, and there’s also the extension of unemployment compensation. It’s important that Congress moves quickly so that the economic stimulus package can decrease the likelihood of a more severe and painful recession.” Kagen voted last week for the package that would provide tax relief for families — up to $600 per individual and $1,200 for married couples. It also doubles the amount that small businesses can write off on their taxes.
WISBUSINESS FEATURED COLUMNISTS
– GREGG HOFFMANN: Contributor, WisBusiness.com
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BIOTECH (back to top)
– Progen Expands Drug Development Pipeline Through Acquisition of CellGate
ECONOMY (back to top)
– Saputo to close string cheese line in Waldo
– City Brewery, Gundersen Lutheran project wins grant
– National Premium opens Hong Kong office
MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– Manitowoc Co. doubles earnings
– Chrysler plant shut down
– Oshkosh Truck receives $10.6M order from China
LABOR (back to top)
– Obey: Layoff relief reduced
– Woodman’s union hearing continued
– Early Childhood Initiative expansion
– Two Rivers couple creating ultimate cup of coffee
– Tavern linked to Walker’s Point shooting suspect is shut down
INVESTING (back to top)
– Sale of Fiserv unit to TD Ameritrade closes
– Controlling shareholder proposes restructuring of A.O. Smith holdings
REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– City nears settlement in condo conflict
AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– Hog farmers face challenges
– State Cattle Numbers Up in 07, While Operations Were Down
– WI Cheese Production Fell Slightly During December
– Steinhafels to buy Evans mattress operation
– Middleton ponders Tribeca
– Tilted Kilt to debut here soon
– Doyle continues battle against tobacco companies
– Proposed state law aims to help just one restaurant
TOURISM (back to top)
– Tower replica coming to Ashwaubenon railroad museum
– Snow helps boost Badger Winter Games, winter tourism
UTILITIES (back to top)
– Point Beach plant bringing Unit 1 back online
– New Berlin may be in the market for Racine’s water
HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– Health fair slated at Paper Valley Hotel
FINANCIAL SERVICES (back to top)
– With new outlook comes new name
– Banks tightening standards for borrowers
– Humanaís fourth-quarter earnings surge
– CIB Marine adds Marine Bank director to board
– Midwest Airlines appoints chief operating officer
– Jim Tress to head Marinette division
– UW-Madison boss’ base pay may jump 66%
– Wells Fargo’s Little joins N.Y. bank
BUSINESS COLUMNS (back to top)
– Larry Avila: Subprime mortgage mess dug pretty deep into economy
National Business Roundups ( back to top)
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